Every child (and many, many adults) thinks they know what’s in Area 51. Aliens, right?
So I was understandably feeling curious when I was ‘invited’ to find out, on the first week of my job. And a little apprehensive, to be honest.
“Right this way, Mr. President,” gestured my guide, a man in a dark suit and darker glasses. ‘Call me X,’ he’d said. I would have made a joke about Men in Black if I wasn’t so high-strung. He tugged the roller door to the massive shed, and as my eyes adjusted, it revealed…a concentration camp.
I knew it immediately, between tales my father had told, and what I’d seen portrayed in movies. Hopeless, wasted-away individuals, all packed together behind a chain-link fence. Only this time, they weren’t Jews, or even human. Wide green eyes stared back at me, three from each shrivelled black face. They had claws…emphasis on the had; it looked like they’d been sheared right off.
“H…ha…home.” One of the creatures croaked.
“What? How could we do this to them? I thought we’ve always been looking for aliens for peaceful contact.”
The man’s lips pursed. His shades hid anything in his eyes; what I wouldn’t give to see them now.
“These aren’t aliens, Mr. President,” he said.
“Holy sh-” I caught myself, “What do you mean, X?” Not aliens, that would mean..
“They’re native, sir. Call themselves the Nayatu. You of course know our tendency to ‘discover’ places that were already occupied. Columbus, Cook…and well before that, Captain Francis Ludo ‘discovered’ a planet called Earth. Hunted these guys almost to extinction. We built this place as a Nayatu refuge, but a thousand years of that treatment begets a lot of bad blood. Every time they are given the slightest piece of freedom, the Nayatu will rampage, kill anyone in sight, even in the beginning when we tried to give them the greatest comforts we could offer.
“So, well, we’re caught between a rock and a hard place, sir. We inherited this mess too, and we’re doing the best that we can. There have been six suicides in our ranks in the last month alone. The previous president ignored it, told us to ‘keep up the good work’. But I’m asking you sir, begging you, help us. Find a way to set them free, and us too.”